Counterfeit handbags have recently been pushed into the spotlight due to the introduction of Senator Chuck Schumer’s Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act which shield designers from having their work stolen and reproduced. If you live in NYC or have visited NYC, you know that you can’t walk five blocks without seeing a little bench set up with bags donning the fake Coach or Gucci logos.

I’ve always been intrigued by these fake bags. Do people really think that no one can tell that your Coach bags don’t have “C’s” on them and instead it’s a “G”? Fakes can be spotted from miles away. Unless it’s a good fake, and those take more careful inspecting. Remember that episode of Sex and the City where Samantha buys fake Fendi bags out of the trunk of a car? Or maybe you’re more familiar of that episode of The City when Olivia Palermo takes a trip to Canal Street to pick up some fakes for an assignment at Elle magazine. Let it be noted that even Joe Zee was blown away with a particular knock-off Louis Vuitton.

Well, now I have an experience worth talking about. The other day I was walking the streets and saw a bunch of fake handbags set up on a picnic blanket. There were two guys – one was selling bags and the other was selling wallets. Curiosity got the best of me, and I wandered over to the bags. To my surprise, I saw a vast selection of the classic Chanel 2.55 bags. I picked one up and asked him how much the plum colored one went for. He told me the ticket price was $165 (a little steep for a fake, don’t you think?) but of course he’d give me a deal at $120. I put the bag on my shoulder to get a better feel for it.

I was admiring my reflection in the storefront mirror close by when all of a sudden I hear “COPS!!” and within a two second time span, both men picked up their picnic blankets filled with goodies, hoisted it over their shoulder and made a run for it.

I was left with the bag on my shoulder.

It was an awkward moment because the people around me saw me with the bag and knew that I had not paid for it. The men who were selling the fakes were long gone at this point. What was I to do?

I just walked away.

That’s right, I walked away and pretended like none of that happen. It should be noted that I walked ten blocks looking over my shoulder in fear that the police might arrest me for the five crimes I probably had just committed, or even scarier, the men with the fakes might come after me.

But alas, none of that happened, and I am safe. I got home and compared my new, free, fake Chanel bag to my real, expensive Chanel bag and from the outside they look the same. It’s only when you open the bag up or rub your fingers on the gold chain and realize it will tarnish soon, that you can tell the difference.

But hey, it was free!